Recalling memories from the book Our Stories

December 26, 2022 | 11:41
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On December 22, Vietnam Investment Review solemnly held the launch ceremony of the book Our Stories by Vo Hong Phuc, former Minister of Planning and Investment.

The launch ceremony saw the participation of many state leaders, former leaders, and officers of the Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI). Relatives, friends, and colleagues of Phuc, as well as representatives of Alpha Books JSC and other media agencies also attended the ceremony.

Recalling memories from the book Our Stories
Former Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc speaking at the event

Former Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc shared, "In August 2021, on the occasion of the Vu Lan and Mid-Autumn festivals, Hanoi enforced stringent lockdowns in response to the pandemic, leading to the streets becoming very quiet. At night, the bells from Tay Ho Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Tran Vu Temple aroused my memory. Therefore, I wrote some past stories to post on Facebook. My friends read them and commented fondly. Many of them encouraged and motivated me to continue sharing my old stories. They said my stories contain their stories. The encouragement from everyone motivated me to continue to write."

Phuc explained that the book was named Our Stories because it tells not only about him but also about his family, the people in his village, his classmates, and his colleagues both in Vietnam and abroad.

Recalling memories from the book Our Stories
At the event

The book is published by Alpha Books and consists of seven chapters and a photo appendix of the characters. Notably, in addition to interesting stories about the homeland, family, and the author himself, the book also consists of many stories and memories related to the author's work at the MPI that are associated with our country’s economic integration process in the 1980s and 1990s – especially forming cooperative relationships with Japanese partners, the World Bank, and others.

Pham Chi Lan, former vice chairmain of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), spoke at the event, "I have known Phuc since the early 1980s when he was deputy director of the Department of Industry, under the State Planning Committee – which is the precursor to the present-day MPI. At that time, I worked as a deputy director and later became director of the International Relations Department at the VCCI."

She emphasised that Phuc was right to include an entire story in the book about Nissho Iwai, one of the first pioneering Japanese enterprises to enter Vietnam. She shared that the book was published on the threshold of 2023, which marks 50 years of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan. It helps today’s generations understand the 50-year journey of the two countries' relationship and the many difficulties in the early days, thereby continuing to foster relations over the next half century and beyond.

Recalling memories from the book Our Stories

Sharing the reason for publishing the book in Japan, Tadahiro Kinoshita, general director of Sojitz Vietnam said, “The first time I met former Minister Phuc was in 2006 when Nissho Iwai – the predecessor of Sojitz – was awarded the Friendship Medal by the Vietnamese government. At the time, I was impressed by his firm demeanour and I admired him very much. Thirteen years later, I returned to Hanoi to work, met Phuc again, and had opportunities to learn a lot from him."

Kinoshita said that he knows Phuc often posts old stories on Facebook.

"Once I asked Phuc if he wanted to write a book because I thought it would be very meaningful to publish a book containing stories about the diplomatic relations between Japan and Vietnam that Phuc has witnessed over the years – especially as 2023 is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. I promised that Sojitz would support him to publish the Japanese version," said Kinoshita.

The book’s Japanese version is expected to be published in September 2023.

Recalling memories from the book Our Stories
Tadahiro Kinoshita, general director of Sojitz Vietnam, speaking at the event

A warm autograph session took place within the framework of the launch ceremony of the book. Participants had opportunities to discuss and take photos with the author.

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